Caterpillar

When I’m waiting in the examination room
at the dermatology clinic for Dr. Fine to arrive
and undo the six stitches knitted into my jawline,
  
it’s superfluous to ruminate on beauty
and the marvelous human machine. The city
doesn’t need another treatise on healing,
  
another ode to pulchritude. It needs more lidocaine,
compression wraps, 0.9% bacteriostatic solution,
and more diamond-edged cutting blades
  
for the road workers incising Halsted Street
four stories below the window, more gauzy cirrus
bandaging the jawbreaker-blue dome
  
of early afternoon, more of the scaffolding
that gives the skyline the appearance of a patient
in traction so the whole of Chicago feels always
  
unfinished. Beauty is too easy. The serene
brown bottle and its white block font plainly
stating ALCOHOL is beautiful for its honesty,
  
and the glittery diode in the catastrophic red
of the fire alarm on the wall is beautiful in its pent-up
vigilance, and the cover of People magazine there
  
on the rack is flat-out ravishing with its full-page
photographs, its pronouncements. It says ELIN NORDEGREN
IS DATING AGAIN. What a relief! Elin Nordegren
  
is too gorgeous to go alone, and though I’m uncertain
who she is or on what reef she’s been lacerated
after what wreckage of marriage to emerge again
  
into romance as if a deity from the sea, I’m concerned
for her wellbeing same as the motorists who pull
to the curb to permit the anonymous, wailing ambulance
  
to pass, a gesture that serves as proof humble acts
of astonishing beauty are possible even in the rancor
of traffic. And it’s true Dr. Fine, first name Lauren,
  
possesses a confidence that begets elegance
which begets grace, so she’s awful beautiful too,
more so than Elin Nordegren, and more so
  
for the ring on her finger which makes her
utterly unavailable for dating, but I wait for her still
on the butcher paper of the exam bed with sutures
  
in my face that give me the appearance of being
more rugged and vulnerable than I am, more beautiful
and true, though honestly I’ve had my fill of truth and beauty.
  
I need to know the uncertain and the scarred also
so I don’t mistake this for a place I’m welcome
to linger in ever expecting an exquisite other to enter
  
and mend me. No, don’t dally any longer, doctor.
Open the door and bring me some terrible news!
The Tallest Building in America
Jaswinder Bolina
Bolina_cover

The Tallest Building in America

Jaswinder Bolina

Floating Wolf Quarterly Cover_wolf